nursing home malnutrition, nursing home dehydration

Malnutrition & Dehydration

Nursing Home Injury and Death Attorneys

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Nursing home malnutrition and dehydration are serious signs of nursing home neglect and abuse. Nursing home malnutrition may be difficult to notice if you visit your loved one every day. However, nursing home dehydration is more apparent. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, contact a nursing home malnutrition at The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation. We are available to speak 24/7.

Our firm has more than 40 years of experience representing vulnerable populations across the nation. We can help you recover damages from nursing home malnutrition and dehydration. Ernest Tosh, a leading expert in the field, will work tirelessly on you and your loved one’s behalf.

Nursing Home Malnutrition and Dehydration

Nursing home malnutrition and dehydration affects at least one-third of the 1.6 million nursing home residents across the United States. As a result, elderly malnutrition represents the most widespread health issue in nursing homes. Maintaining appropriate nutritional and hydration status is important in the nursing home setting. Residents who do not receive adequate nutrition and hydration in their diets are at risk for worse injuries. In fact, nursing malnutrition and dehydration contribute to the development of pressure sores, infection and muscle weakness. Often these conditions will lead to immobility and falls. As a consequence, poor nutrition and hydration make it more difficult for existing pressure ulcers and infections to heal.

The elderly have less water content in their bodies than younger adults and a decreased thirst response which, among other factors, puts them at risk for dehydration. Still, nursing home dehydration is avoidable. Increasing fluid intake in the elderly is important and relatively simple. The nursing home should monitor the resident’s fluid intake and ensure that the resident drinks at least six cups of fluid each day. Fruit juices, popsicles and gelatin are excellent sources of fluid which help residents maintain appropriate hydration.

Causes of Malnutrition and Dehydration

There are a variety of factors which can lead to malnutrition. For example, depression is an increasing problem among the elderly. It is a potential cause of malnutrition because individuals suffering from depression have a tendency to eat less. In turn, they do not receive appropriate vitamins and minerals to prevent malnutrition. Other causes of malnutrition include difficulty swallowing and adverse drug effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. Nursing homes often fail to take steps to prevent malnutrition by not monitoring resident food intake and output. Further, nursing homes may not provide a comfortable environment to promote eating. They may also provide food that is not appetizing.

Understaffing can lead to nursing home malnutrition as well as high turnover rates. For example, certified nursing assistants have a turnover rate of 93 percent every year. Understaffing and high turnover rates can cause staff to make errors or lack proper training.  

How Do I Recognize Malnutrition Or Dehydration In My Family Member?

Nursing home malnutrition and dehydration can lead to serious complications. Both malnutrition and dehydration can appear in physical symptoms. Sometimes changes can be subtle and if you visit your loved one every day, you may not notice gradual changes. However, it is important to keep an eye on out on the physical appearance of loved ones in nursing homes. Your loved ones rely on you to identify nursing home malnutrition and nursing home dehydration. In addition to periodically doing a thorough examination for bruises and wounds, you should check them for signs of dehydration and malnutrition.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Dehydration

Several types of problems will crop up when nursing home dehydration is present.

  • Thirst
  • Darker and more concentrated urine
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased urine output
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting

More serious symptoms of dehydration include vomiting, difficulty breathing and seizures. When symptoms get this serious, they should be treated as life-threatening. The staff has a responsibility to get nursing home dehydration victims medical treatment immediately.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Malnutrition

  • Significant weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Fragile bones
  • Muscle loss
  • Weakness
  • Mental Decline
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased organ function
  • Bloated Abdomen
  • Tooth decay
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Dry skin

A nursing home malnutrition lawyer can help your family navigate through the very serious conditions that develop when nursing home neglects leads to malnutrition and dehydration. When a loved one’s mouth is bright red or canker sores are present this is a clear sign of malnutrition and neglect.  

Risk Factors for Nursing Home Malnutrition and Dehydration

It is important for nursing homes to identify residents who are at risk malnutrition and dehydration. Likewise, it is important for nursing homes to come up with an appropriate plan for those residents to get their proper nutrition. Upon admission, residents should be assessed. Reassessment needs to occur to examine patient’s condition throughout their stay.

Risk factors for nursing home malnutrition and dehydration include:

  • 5 percent or more unintended weight loss in one month
  • 10 percent or more unintended weight loss in six months
  • Presence of pressure sores
  • History of malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Teeth problems
  • Mental impairment
  • Poor communication
  • Teeth problems
  • Poor eating habits
  • Decreased food or fluid intake
  • Chewing or swallowing problems
  • Body weight of fewer than 100 pounds
  • Limited mobility
  • Needing assistance to eat

If you think your loved one has been the victim of nursing malnourishment or dehydration, it is important to report the problem immediately. Additionally, it is important that you contact a nursing home malnutrition lawyer to get the help you need and the help you deserve.

What Should Nursing Home Staff do to Ensure Proper Nutrition

Nursing homes should always provide sufficient nutrition for elder residents. Longterm care facilities should be vigilant in paying attention to patients nutrition and fluid intake.

More steps nursing home staff can take to encourage proper nutrition include:

  • Food is cut or otherwise prepared for those who need it.
  • Food is at an appropriate temperature.
  • Ensuring residents are sitting a 60-90 degree angle to eat.
  • Nursing staff are seated at eye level and only feeding one resident at a time.
  • Staff are free of distraction and focused on feeding the resident.
  • Residents are being fed slowly.
  • Patients are eating in the dining room (if possible).
  • Forks and spoons are half full to decrease risks of choking
  • Residents who need dentures or glasses to eat have them.
  • Chewing and swallowing are encouraged for residents who need reminders.

The above list is not exhaustive. Nursing home staff should always be aware of what individual patients need to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition. Because certain conditions may be present, patients should be given supplements if they are unable to finish meals. Additionally, depending on a patient’s condition, feeding tubes should be considered. If you suspect your loved one is malnourished or dehydrated, contact a nursing home malnutrition attorney. Even more, if your loved one passed away because of malnourishment or problems stemming malnourishment, we can help you. The Carlson Law Firm can help you get the justice your loved one deserves.

Understaffing Effects On Nursing Home Malnutrition and Dehydration

Understaffing is a serious problem for many nursing homes across the country. However, it is not an excuse to deprive nursing home residents of their quality of life. More than 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. In fact, studies show that residents in understaffed facilities are at a higher risk for malnutrition and dehydration. Understaffing leads to a less attentive staff for residents.

Unfortunately, understaffing is the main underlying causes of elder neglect. Nearly half of nurses report missing changes in a patient’s condition because their workloads are excessive. Consequently, nurses in understaffed facilities don’t have time to pay attention to detail which can lead to nursing home dehydration and malnutrition which can lead to deaths. If each patient is able to get adequate attention then nursing home mistakes and neglect won’t happen.

Because of understaffing and high turnover, staff in nursing home facilities are exhausted after working long hours. Nurses and staff members are pushed to work quickly and for as long as possible.  When the staff is overworked and stressed it can lead to them taking frustrations out and nursing home residents.

Finally, if you notice that your elderly loved one is suffering because of understaffing, you can take action. Fortunately, the law allowed you to hold the nursing home responsible for the abuses and neglect that occurs as a result of understaffing. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a nursing home malnutrition lawyer about your loved one’s condition.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

It is important to remember that dehydration and malnutrition are life-threatening. As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to fight off infections because of weakened immune systems. Moreover, this can lead to several other medical conditions like sepsis. If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should take action quickly and contact us to set up a free consultation. Our nursing home malnutrition lawyer is ready to assist you. Our staff is available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We care. We can help.